Nevada's rural healthcare crisis averted as Centene covers 14 'bare' counties

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announces Centene's decision to expand health insurance coverage to all Nevada counties on August 15, 2017.

Missouri-based health insurance provider Centene will expand coverage on Nevada's Obamacare exchange next year, averting Nevada's rural healthcare 'crisis,' Governor Brian Sandoval announced at a press conference in Silver Springs Tuesday morning.

Before the announcement, Nevada's 14 rural counties were at risk of having no health insurance carriers on the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.

During the press conference Sandoval acknowledged that there will be no counties in Nevada without health care insurance options.

Around 8,000 Nevadans lived in those "bare" counties after Prominence left the Nevada exchange and Anthem reduced coverage to just three counties.

Minden resident Heather Paterson-Lewis was 'devastated' back in June when Anthem announced it would no longer cover Douglas County.

"It was kind of scary how much it's been impacting my life in the last few months," Paterson-Lewis said Tuesday.

I felt this huge weight off me.

SilverSummit, Centene's Nevada plan, previously covered Clark, Nye and Washoe counties, but announced Tuesday it would expand coverage to all of the state's 17 counties including Carson City, Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Pershing, and Storey.

Health Plan of Nevada will continue to insure residents in Clark, Washoe and Nye counties.

The executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, Heather Korbulic, said it was doubtful another insurance carrier would add plans for 2018.

Although feeling 'glad' and 'grateful,' Paterson-Lewis said she was still slightly worried about the lack of competition in the exchange.

"I'm just hoping that the rates are comparable to what we have now. That there won't be any huge surprises.

Centene's 2018 rates will be finalized next month and made public in early October.


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